Rural North Texans of a certain age may recall their infrequent trips to the “big city Dallas” with fond memories, highlighted by the sight of the flying red horse soaring above the city’s skyline. The Magnolia Petroleum Company’s Pegasus, a forty-foot long and thirty-foot high red neon horse, was placed atop a fifty-foot tower anchored to the roof of the Magnolia Building in 1934. At the time, the Pegasus and its one thousand feet of neon tubing rotated every minute and a half. It was the city’s tallest point for almost a decade and, today, remains one of its most famous landmarks. Soon after its installation Dallas citizens could claim that the city, still considered a provincial outpost of cowboys and cattle by the rest of the nation, was no longer a one-horse town.
The Magnolia Building was completed in 1922, at the time the sixteenth tallest building in the country, and housed the offices of the Magnolia Petroleum Company, primary beneficiary of the 1901 Spindletop oil well profits and precursor to the Mobile Oil Company. The building’s architect, Sir Alfred Charles Bossom, British royal baron and member of Parliament, created a blend of Beaux-Arts classicism and modern, 20th century high rise in his design for the building.
Today, the Magnolia serves international guests as the Magnolia Hotel, a luxurious boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Dallas. The building and its red Pegasus are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered a Texas Historic Landmark.